by Mary (Kelly) Ray
The town of Morton came into existence shortly after the turn of the century, and was named for a gentleman from he state of Vermont, the Vice President of the United States, Levi P. Morton. The completion of the railroad in 1910 from Tacoma opened the gateway into the peaceful Eastern Big Bottom Country. This had a tremendous impact. Morton was incorporated in 1913 and the little town came to be known as "The World's Largest Tie Center."
Notes by our first missionary priest, Father Herbert Mertens, tell that the first Catholic settlers came by way of a trail from Chehalis about 1889. The Bergen families were among the first; others came by way of Puyallup.
The Sisters of Mercy visited the various logging areas in Mineral to gather alms from the men working in the camps. They asked the Sisters to prevail upon the Bishop to send them a priest.
The Reverend Mark Weickman said Mass for the first time at a hall in Elbe in 1906; Mass was celebrated in Mineral in 1907. Alexander Seymour, the Uncle of June Krolczyk, came to Mineral in 1905. Since there was no Catholic Church In Mineral, Alexander got Father Paul Smith from Gig Harbor to come to this community once a month on the train. Father would come on a Friday and stay with the Seymours until Monday, saying Mass, instructing the children, visiting the sick and caring for people's spiritual needs.
Property for a church in Mineral was donated by June's Uncle, William Seymour, about 1918. It was cleared by the men folks. June's grandfather and uncle did most of the building with financial assistance from the Extension Society. The Church was named St. Hillary and was a place of worship in 1919.
The congregation dwindled in size when World War I ended, and more so when fire destroyed the large mill in Mineral in 1922. By 1929 the Church was no longer in use; however, it was the setting for funeral services for Telesphore Seymour in January 1938. The Church was demolished in 1940 by Joseph Suter for the lumber.
In the 1940's, after a time, a missionary priest and group would come to Mineral with a trailer and a portable altar; Mass would be celebrated outdoors.
John Kehoe was one of the very early pioneers, coming to the Big Bottom Country in Randle in 1884. Anne Dalton, who came from Ulster, Ireland, to visit her brother in Randle, shortly met and married John Kehoe. Anne had two or three miscarriages. Then in 1893 their son, Frank, was barn, delivered by Dr. Dow. The doctor had only been gone a short time when Annie hemorrhaged and died, Neighbors made a cedar box and loaded her remains unto the wagon. They took her over a trackless wilderness, fording creeks and the Cowlitz with the team and wagon; because of her Catholic heritage she was taken to Toledo to St. Francis Mission Cemetery where she could be laid to rest in consecrated ground. Catholic progress was slow in Morton, Dr. O.C.Nelson who had a dental parlor made his home a "church" when a missionary priest would arrive. The Mass was celebrated and the children were I baptized.
In 1914 the Little Harmony Church of St. Ives was built, and it was served once a month by the Franciscan priest of the Cowlitz Mission at Toledo, Washington. People from Morton and the Upper Cowlitz area made every effort to go to Mass at Harmony, over the most impossible roads, much of which was punching. They had to go by way of Riffe Hill and cross the Cowlitz by ferry. The area is now covered by the waters of Riffe Lake and its Mossyrock Dam which was constructed In 1968.
Mrs . Florence Beck tells about her two aunts; Ella and Annie Bergen, her uncle Bart Bergen and one brother and two sisters, along with a friend, Mrs. Louise Herselman. They started out for Mass at Harmony in 1915. Before the ferry was securely fastened to the bank, the driver of the team of horses drove onto the ferry and pushed it away from the bank and from under the wagon. In the process, the wagon went into the treacherous river, pulling the team with it. Florence's aunt Anna, her brother, two sisters and Mrs. Louise Herselman were all drowned. Her brother's body was never found. Ella and Bart held on to the bushes and they were saved. Catholics, shaken by this tragedy, but undaunted in their faith, decided Mass would be celebrated in their own town of Morton .
By 1921 there were a dozen or so Catholic families in the area: Angus McDonald, John Kehoe, Michael Tierney and Thomas Kelly of Randle, Michael O'Brien of Glenoma; in the Bremer area there were Frank and Thomas Bergen, Vanoy brothers, Rudolph Bensen, Bartons, Ed Kuntz and John LeVexier. In Morton there were Ella Mahony, E.M.Fairhart, John McDonald and Steve Bergen. They decided to build a church in Morton in which to worship. Angus McDonald gave the money to purchase the property on the slope of the hill east of town. Each family gave $200.00 to defray expenses. Mr. Williams did the carpenter work; he was assisted by others.
As the church was being built, their main concern was where would they get a priest to attend them. In answer to their prayers, a colorful and highly individualistic, twentieth century Dutch priest, Father Hubert Mertens, (who at this time lived in a little log cabin near St. Ann's Orphanage in Tacoma) appeared on the scene. He was assigned to St. John of the Woods in Tacoma and its Mission Church in Morton.
Father radiated himself in many directions. Indians took him across the Puget Sound by canoe where he established St. Nicholas Church; he bicycled on back trails to Dash Point establishing St. Theresa's Mission; he also served Eatonville, Kapowsin, National, Gig Harbor, Mineral, Vashon and Maury Islands. Father rode the logging trains to Morton, and if the train stopped over in Mineral, he would hitch-hike to Morton the day before. He slept on a cot in the sacristy of the church and climbed the hill for water. He did his cooking on a potbellied stove as there were no modern facilities.
Frank Mettler drove Father to Morton for many years. The Sacred Heart Community was served once a month, then twice and finally every Sunday. This began the Modern history of Catholic life in Morton. The Callahans and Kellys decided Father needed something better than bachelor cooking, so while packing their own lunch, they brought food for a hot breakfast for Father. He especially enjoyed the hot rolled oats cereal and a raw egg in his coffee. (Click on image for a larger version.)
The Church was dedicated to the service of the Lord by the Most Reverend Edward O'Dea, Bishop of Seattle on August 22, 1922 and was entrusted to Sacred Heart of Jesus. In deciding the boundaries for the new Church, the chancery officials in Seattle were unsure of where this place was or how many souls were up there in the woods. So they decided to play it safe and gave Father Mertens this description; "From the top of Mt. Rainier along the crest of the Cascade Mountains to the summit of Mt. Adams to the top of Mt. St. Helens and back again." Was there any other church in America that had such distinctive and visible corner stakes for its boundaries?
Mr. & Mrs. Michael O'Brien's son Jimmy was the first to be baptized in the newly dedicated church. Frank Kehoe and Anna Amhre were the first to be married in 1926. Father Mertens then bought a Model T Ford, (which he called Lizzy). It was said that he was the world's worst driver. When he set out on a journey of 62 miles for Morton, along gravel tracks, through dense old-growth forest, in winter bitter cold, snow and ice frozen roads, he would slip and slide with Lizzy and often times end up in the ditch. He would say "come on Lizzy, we can't let those people of Morton and their God down." Often people waited in the church when Father didn't come, they recited the rosary, had their lunch and a good visit before starting the long journey back home.
Father Mertens was dedicated to teaching the word of God. He often gave such touching sermons that tears would roll down his face and off his chin. Often he was spoken of as a living saint. Other tears flowed when Catholics of Morton heard of Father's untimely death in 1938. He was killed by a hit and run driver. Father was returning from the store with his wheelbarrow after begging some greens for his rabbits.
Mrs. Bridget Callahan tells how Archbishop Thomas Connolly had come by to do some fishing on the Tilton River. He decided to pay a pastoral visit to Sacred Heart Church. He climbed the numerous front steps and found the door securely locked. As he began making his way down the grassy path to the back door, the neighbors became uneasy. Unable to reach anyone at home in Morton they made a frantic call to Tom Callahan in Randle saying, "A well-dressed man was trying to break into the back door of the church."
Father Edmond Barry succeeded Father Mertens.
In the summer of 1939, an extension was built on to the rear of the church. This also included a choir loft. An organ was donated by the Floyd Pettit family. A choir was organized. Rose Marie Sturza was the first organist and then Eileen (Kehoe) Huddleston. The building was very hard to heat. The oil stove was in the rear of the building, and when the East wind would blow, the church would be filled with a lot of smoke, but very little heat; very little! Often-times people would be coughing from the smoke, and once Tom Callahan, Tom Kelly and Mike O'Brien took the stove outside. (It wasn't [the] Holy Spirit, it was "Holy Smoke.")
January 1944, Father Robert Logan assigned to Morton
During the summer the Sisters would come and stay in the homes with the people. The Sisters said it was a rare treat for them to get away. After teaching the children during the day, the parents often took the Sisters on outings and drives to the mountains. Young men from the seminary would also come and teach the children. Father Victor Cloquet and Father Edward Boyle were among them. Other summers the children would go and live for a week or two with the Sisters at St. Mary's Academy at Toledo for their religious training.
Many of the children would get homesick, as in those days they were rarely away from home. The Sisters spoke of how unspoiled the children were. The Sisters are gratefully remembered by the people of Morton.
In the early years of the church the Altar Society was very active.
The ladies were constantly doing fancy work for bazaars, as well as making the altar cloths and linens. Mrs. Herbert Tasbonough made an altar cloth crocheted with angel faces, which is still in use. They also gave dances and held card party socials. One of the largest undertakings of the Altar Society was the making of a nine foot wool braided rug, one six foot, and two smaller ones. This was in 1951. Helen Tregoning, a very active lady in the Society, opened her basement where we gathered and cut materials. If people found their coats missing they could well suspect they went into the rugs. Louise Jones and Ellen Pettit worked their fingers to the bone, as they did most of the sewing of the braids. Projects of this undertaking are unheard of in this day and age.
In 1954 Father Andrew Prouty became pastor of St. John of the Woods Parish in Tacoma, and Sacred Heart Church of Morton. At this time our Mission Church numbered 45 families; the priest alternated Sunday Mass between Eatonville and Morton. In 1956 Our Lady of Good Counsel Mission in Eatonville was attached to a new parish, Our Lady Queen of Heaven in Spanaway.
In the ensuing eight and a half years the 45 families became 60; the little white church on the slope of the hill was overflowing. People would have to stand outside on the steps as they were unable to get inside. When it was wet and cold, people sat in their cars and prayed, while Mass was offered in the church. Father Prouty was farsighted and intensely proud of his congregation of choker setters, whistle punks, high climbers, and hook tenders, husky children and spirited wives. He wanted more than a building for them; he wanted a monument to those people, to their mountains, and to the God who made them both. Father brought his vision to reality with his precise directions to Roger Gotteland and Roy Koczarski who were the selected architects. The new Sacred Heart structure would be unique in Western Washington.
A Fund Raising Campaign was held in the little town of Morton and it caught on like a crown fire in dry timber. In 1959, 60 families made pledges of $60,732.00 to build this new Church. Father explained to those who didn't understand what it meant to tithe. "It's ten percent right off the top, before taxes. One easy way to figure the tithe is the formula: $2.00 per week per $1,000.00 of annual income." Floyd Pettit was the campaign chairman. He was assisted by the following nine men: John Quinn, Anton Kauer, Thomas Callahan, Pat Kelly, William Taylor, Mickey O'Grady, Joseph Krolczyk and Albert Ray. The men canvassed Packwood, Randle, Glenoma, Kosmos, Mineral, Bear Canyon and Morton. The work was completed in six days, and with heart warming success. In appreciation a catered dinner was hosted for all parish members.
The contract to build the Church was awarded to Fitzpatrick and McIntyre of Tacoma for a basic bid of $159,757.00. The property at 7th and West Adams Street was purchased from Mr. and Mrs. Ivor Jacobsen. The construction began on November 5, 1961. Father made many trips from Tacoma in his concern for the project. This was the first church construction he was involved with and it was his pride and joy. The progress was slow during the winter months due to snow and general bad weather.
The new Church was used for the first time on August 19, 1962 for the baptism of George Fairhart of Morton. Then two days later it was the setting for the funeral services of Joseph Suter of Mineral who was killed in a logging accident.
Archbishop Thomas A. Connolly
The unique structure of the Church invites one to pray from the outside as well as from the inside. It complements its surroundings, as if it had grown out of it. The completion of the Mayfield Dam on March 3, 1963 brought more rapid growth to the area. The 60 families grew to be 109. The long awaited dream of Catholics in Eastern Lewis County came true with the dedication of the new Church on Palm Sunday, April 7, 1963, by Archbishop Thomas A.Connolly. The Archbishop arrived by a special police escort at the front door of the rectory. He was greeted by the children of the parish and the assembled clergy. Young Miss Pamela Hall, age 8, presented him with a bouquet of roses from the children of the parish. Then the ceremonies began with the blessing of the corner stone. The day of festivities continued with the dedication Mass at 10:30 AM. This was followed by dinner at 1:00 PM and the blessings of the Stations of the Cross at 4:00 in the afternoon. The Sacred Heart Church officially became the newest parish facility in the Archdiocese of Seattle. Altar boys who served in the church dedication included: Paul Ray, Michael Emerson. Ronald Sparkman, Dennis Gerwig, Patrick Emerson, William Tully, James Gerwig, Patrick Clevenger, Robert Tully, Christopher Tauscher, Bruce Coleman, Patrick Davison, and Roy Kauer. The altar boys were specially trained by Ellen Pettit. All parishioners and clergy walked in the solemn procession around the church, chanting the hymns for the dedication of a new church. On entering the edifice the Archbishop blessed the interior of the building as the people responded with the Litany of the Saints. Father Andrew Prouty, Pastor, offered the Solemn High Mass. Ten other priests assisted at Mass: The Deacon. Father Emery J Blanchard, Seattle; The Subdeacon, Father Henry D. Buckman, Kelso; The Master of Ceremonies, Father Cornelius J. Harrington, Tacoma; Chaplains to his Excellency, The Archbishop, Father A.J. Leahy, Seattle, and Father William Greier, Spanaway: Assistant Priest. Father Andrew J. Squier. Tacoma; Episcopal Master of Ceremonies, Father Steven Szeman. The Sisters of Providence from Tacoma provided the music for the Dedication Mass, with all parish members joining in.
The dinner was prepared under the direction of Sharon Coleman, Altar Society President. Henry Hathaway, assisted by the ladies of the parish, directed the work in the kitchen.
The dedication ceremonies included the blessings of the flag pole and bell, The bell was a gift from the Milwaukee Railroad Company. The flag was raised with appropriate ceremony by William Gerwig, Albert Ray, and Mickey O'Grady. Mary K. Kelly and Bridget Callahan were tea servers. Honored guests on this special day were Mr. & Mrs. Ivor Jacobsen, from whom the property of nearly three acres was purchased in 1956.
The parish facility had 11,500 square feet of floor space consisting of the church with seating for 300, and the parish hall. The Trappist Monks of Lafayette, Oregon made the beautiful oak pews. One of the graceful features of the sanctuary is the statue of the Madonna and Child which is of the late renaissance period, possibly 300 years old; it is of carved wood and gesso work. It was donated by the architects, Roger Gotteland and Roy Koczarski. The hall can accommodate 150 at dinner and can be divided by wooden folding doors into four classrooms.
The kitchen has been furnished in stainless steel, complete with a commercial range, refrigerator, dishwasher, work table and hot wells. The rectory contains a suite for the pastor, housekeeper, a guest room, dining room, kitchen, pantry, reception hall and office. The complex also has a car port and patio. The parish plant has approximately 37,000 square feet of blacktopped parking area.
We will long remember this event, as it was the first time many of us had been involved in "The Festivities of the Dedication of a New Church."
I am sure I speak for many others, when I say it was one of the highlights of my life. My brother, Pat Kelly, said "This is the nearest you will know what heaven is like." We were all so jubilant that we couldn't seem to settle down to daily chores again. The music seemed to swell the building as though the roof would go off, and it echoed in our memory. It was a long awaited dream fulfilled. With great elation we looked forward to our future as a people of God, dedicated to the name of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Our new church became one of the jewels of the Archdiocese in its natural setting, its vibrant congregation, and lovely community that surrounds it, our own City of Morton.
The author is concerned about mentioning names, as one may inadvertently omit proper credits. But, there were so many people who worked so hard on the grounds surrounding the parish facility. Those men foremost in mind were Mickey O'Grady and William Gerwig. (May God rest their souls.) Harry and Mary Ann Hall took on the huge task of ordering and planting the shrubbery. Tom Callahan planted the Douglas Fir trees along the north property line.
On July 4, 1963 the first communicants received The Eucharist at the new Church. The first wedding was celebrated between Jack DeLong of Mineral and Monita Rashoff of Randle on October 5, 1963. Shortly after this Richard Suter of Mineral and Rose Thayer of Auburn were married on December 28, 1963.
Father Brendan Gallager, Served Sacred Heart Mission from 1965 to, 1968
He succeeded Father Prouty as pastor at St. John of the Woods in Tacoma.
This is a photo of the interior of the New Sacred Heart Church, with Fr. Prouty. It is nearly the same today. (Click on the photo to see more of the interior.)
In 1965 Herb Cooper appraised the old church property and its one and a quarter acres on the hill east of town for $1,300.00. On January 28, 1927 Anna May Kelly of Randle died. At this time there were plans to have a cemetery behind the church, so she was laid to rest there. Because the cemetery failed to materialize, the proper authorities came and removed the soil which was believed to be that of Anna May's grave. This was then inlaid on her father's grave at the Cowlitz Mission Cemetery in Toledo, Washington. This preceded the sale of the property.
Ed and Lilly Compton began to negotiate the purchase of the old church site, since they had adjoining property. Bob Matthew did the surveying, because there were questions concerning the corner lines. With the final details completed, the appraisal price set at $2,617.00, Father Roberi Daly and the Comptons signed the contract on August 9, 1971. Al Coburn removed the building to salvage the lumber.
The completion of the Mossyrock Dam and Riffe Lake in 1968 brought a new tourism and continued growth to Eastern Lewis County. Also, on June 21, 1968 the most significant event in the history of Sacred Heart Church took place. Father Robert Daly became the first resident pastor. The Morton Mission was established as a Parish. It had been a mission since 1922.
Father Daly quietly, efficiently and energetically set about organizing Catholic life in an active Christian community. There were nine other churches in the town of Morton which had a population of 1,264. Father began the annual Fall Festival and weekly binge games. Genevieve Felth, Julien DeWaele, Neil and Betty Hughes were among the faithful workers for the weekly game nights for many years. When Sacred Heart became a parish, St. Ives Church in Harmony, which is located ten miles west of Morton, became its Mission. St. Ives had been served since 1914 by the Franciscan priests of the Cowlitz Mission, Toledo, which is twenty miles distant. In 1968 Father Daly began the weekly Mass at the Packwood Station thirty-five miles east of Morton.
The Altar Society's primary function is to care for the church and to oversee the needs of the sanctuary. Father Daly established within the Altar Society two Guilds, St. Mary's for Packwood and Randle, and St. Martha's for Morton .
St. Martha's Guild has taken on many projects. They purchased the beautiful red carpet for the vestibule of the church; they have contributed toward the payment of the parish debt through rummage and bake sales, and parish dinners. They obtained a tea serving set and punch bowl set to enhance the wedding setting, and the Papal Flag to grace the sanctuary. We recall the many monthly meetings, which were credited with the planning, with the small group of regular attending members: Genevieve Felth, Ruth Brooks, Ellen Novak, Arlene Andringa, Sharon Coleman, Pamela Boehm, Kay Tully, Rheta Murphy, Kay Gerwig, Mary Tauscher, Claudette Clevenger, Mary Ann Hall. This continued involvement of the Guild members and the ladies of the parish saw the realization of the Fall Festivals and now the Septemberfest.
Father Belisle succeeded Father Daly on April 20, 1972. He worked very closely with the youth of the parish, as well as with the community, especially the Boy Scouts. He also participated in the Morton Ministerial Association. He assisted in drawing up the constitution of the Morton Historical Society.
Father Belisle made many friends while here in Morton. On one occasion Father had asked his friend, Virgil Compton, a parishioner of the Methodist Church, to come over with his tractor to cut the church field after the summer growth. In the process Virgil cut off a sprinkler head, the tractor stalled, and water shot straight upward thoroughly dousing Virgil. At this point, Father Belisle came running over and consoled Virgil: "I baptized you on the spot with 'Catholic Water'", Virgil still remembers!
Bishop Thomas Gill, Auxiliary Bishop of Seattle, came to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation for the first time at the new Parish in 1964.
In March of 1976 Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen came to Morton for his first pastoral visit, which included his administration of The Sacrament of Confirmation. The confirmandi numbered about thirty-two. Sister Mary White, O.P., came in September 1976 to participate in the pastoral work of the Parish and Mission. Sister Mary was with us for three years. Father Victor Cloquet, from Vancouver, Washington became the third resident pastor on July 7, 1977. At this time our parish numbered about 200 families, including St. Ives. Father completed the work of organizing a parish council in 1978. Its charter members were as follows: May Rashoff, Arlene Andringa, Edward Chan, Ellen Novak and all of the Sacred Heart Church, Earl Allington of St. Ives Church, and William Patla of the Packwood Catholic Community. Bert Adams was the Chairperson. Mr. Philip Myer of Mossyrock was ordained a Permanent Deacon on April 1, 1978. His apostolate continues to enrich our faith.
The Knights of Columbus, a mini council of the Lewis D. Meyer council of Chehalis, was formed in 1978. Philip Myer was chosen its first president. Donald Powell was instrumental in organizing our Catholic men. The Knights of Columbus provide service to the parish, as well as to the community. The charter members were: Norman Sadler, Kevin Kelly, Philip Myer, Lawrence Nelson, Donald Murphy, Vernon Kelley, Ronald Rashoff, and Donald Powell. The Knights of Columbus was founded one hundred years ago in 1882 by Father Michael J. McGivney, a priest from Connecticut.
The Charismatic and Cursillo programs continue to be evidence of the faith of the people in the parish.
Kay Tully, Geneva Partridge, May Rashoff, Genevieve Felth, Bonnie Nelson, Ellen Perry, Gale Powell, John Moynahan, and others worked many years instructing the children on the C.C.D. program. Helena Suter trained the altar boys in the Latin responses. Younger parents are now proclaiming The Gospel. Ellen Pettit was in charge of the Choir at the new Church until she moved to Olympia. She was succeeded by Sharon Coleman.
We are, also grateful to the dedicated services as organists of the following people: Eileen (Kehoe) Huddleston, Betty Chan, Debbie Adamucci, Wema Fairhart, Kathy Tully and Christina Elizaga. In 1973 Philip Myer began leading the choir and Mary Ellen Coleman became guitarist. Then John Emerson and his daughter, Kim Lipe, became involved. Later on Joan Myer became director. The Perry sisters, Debbie and Patty, also joined in with their guitars, along with Dori and Lisa Powell, May Rashoff, Dorothy Sherbondy, not to mention others who joined in good voice. The choir has made a name for itself outside the Church as well. The group has been asked to sing for different events. The choirs, past and present, have always enhanced our Liturgies.
Mt St. Helens erupted on Sunday, May 18, 1980 at 8:32 AM. 26 air miles south of Morton, it thoroughly covered us in ash. Father Cloquet was interviewed by the Catholic Northwest Progress as to how his parish did. He declared every day to be "Ash Wednesday" in Morton. But, he was thankful that none of the parishioners were injured and that there was no serious destruction in the area of Eastern Lewis County.
The volcanic eruption presented a big cleanup job. Father said , "This stuff isn't going to melt like snow." In working with the ash one had to wear a special mask. The ash from the parking area and driveways had to be scooped up with a tractor and hauled off in dump trucks. Cleaning the Church's shake roof was another problem. Father secured professional assistance with a job cost of $9,600.00. Besides this, people volunteered their services, especially the Morton Fire Department. (For more see the Mt. St. Helens material in the Parish Volcanoes page. Also, there is material an recreation at the Monument on the recreation page.)
Father Cloquet, who has been with us five years, is much concerned with the maintenance of the parish plant. The driveways and parking lot were resurfaced in August, 1982. John Hacker, Grounds' Superintendent for the parish council, and who also built his own log house on the Tilton River, was very helpful with these projects.
Sacred Heart Catholic Church reached another milestone in its history on May 9, 1982 with the burning of its mortgage. Bridget Callahan of Randle presented the mortgage to Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen. A special table was used in the ceremony on which she had prepared the breakfast for Father Mertens in earlier days. (The Archbishop also administered the Sacrament of Confirmation to a young group of parishioners.) Bridget Callahan was assisted by Mr. and Mrs. Edward (Mildred) Fuchs of Packwood, Mr. and Mrs. Albert (Mary) Ray of Morton, Mr. and Mrs. Kevin (Mickey) Kelly of Glenoma, Mr. and Mrs Joseph (June) Krolczyk of Mineral, Mr. and Mrs. Otto (Anna) Hadaller, and Mrs. Rose Kaiser of Mossyrock. Bridget, the oldest active member of the parish, also represented Mrs. Margaret O'Brien, who is 98 years old and now living in Santa Rosa, California, and Frank Kehoe who is 89 and now living at the Old Soldiers Home in Orting, Washington. St. Martha's Guild presented a picture display of Church history.
The paying off of the parish debt in less than 20 years indicated a vibrant faith of the self-sacrificing people. The total cost of the facility was $205,000.00 exceeding the basic bid of $159,757.00 by $45,243.00. Some parish members thought this would happen only in the next generation, not in their time. The parish remains grateful for the financial assistance it also received from the Home Mission Fund. The celebrating ceremonies concluded with the Knights of Columbus serving breakfast to a very large group of people. They hosted the mothers on this very special Mothers Day.
The establishment of the Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument in September 1982 will increase the interest in this area. Morton has its own special Mt. St. Helens view point on Hopkins Hill three miles west of town. The Murray Pacific Timber Company, also, plans to build a forty million dollar forest exhibition and recreation center at Mineral Lake. This presently includes a 14 mile logging train ride.
The Catholic Church is still very young in its history in Eastern Lewis County. The Sacred Heart and St. Ives Communities now have a mailing list of 290 families which also includes summer residents.
We thank God for his many blessings as we live our faith, which is part of our heritage given to us by our ancestors, a vital force in their lives as it is in ours.
In its lifetime the parish has been part of American History, from the day of the horse and wagon, the Indian canoe and Model-T Ford. Our ancestors took out homesteads on a new frontier. May the Church continue to contribute a blessed Christian faith to its people.
Today this frontier has passed into an age of ballistic missiles and spacecraft. The past will be a hundred years gone into a present which is already antiquated .
I wish to express my gratitude to those who provided me with infermation for the realization of this history book. It was through their thoughtful co-operation that this project has been accomplished. I wish to give special acknowledgement to the following people: Diane Blankenship and Monita DeLong, the typists and proof readers; Ann Russo and Wally Seymour, the artists; June Krolczyk for added historical information; Loren Lane, the photographer; Father Victor Cloquet, the editor; and John Carpenter, the printer. If I have omitted something or names of people, please accept my apology. Remember the saying: "To err is human, but to forgive is divine." This memento of our history was put together with loving thoughts in memory of my parents, Thomas Joseph and Mary Kate Kelly who were early pioneers along the Cowlitz.
Mary (Kelly) Ray Parish Historian
November 5, 1982
In my heart there are many memories still,
of the little White Church on the Hill.
The Church was painted white, inside and out, the two
rows of windows were draped with curtains, dainty, sheer and white.
The little white altar was graced with linen and lace, the tall
brass cankle sticks stood in their place.
The Virgin Statue, in heavenly shades of blue, stood on a shelf
on the left.
The Statue of the Sacred Heart, "The Church's name sake", stood on
the right in colors bright.
When I went there with my parents as a child, everything seemed
sacred and serene.
When you walked up to the altar rail to pray, you knew you were
in God's house that day.
Christmas was always very special, as people hurriedly gathered at
the door, for the Christ Child to adore.
As my eyes focused on the crib, my cup over-flowed as
Christmas carols filled the air.
Remembering well the day our weddings bells did ring.
Later on our children began their religious life -
Remembering my brother's ringing the altar bell, I can hear
in my heart the ting-a-ling, and the closeness to God it did bring.
Memories go on and on in life; this is where our daughter began
her married life and baptized her first born.
My memories serve me proud when I remember the priests who,
administered at the altar, Mertens, Barry, Logan and Prouty.
Still further on down life's path, my Dad was one of the
last to be laid to rest from the little White Church on the hill.
It was as though the great oak had fallen.
The steps now creaky with forty years of age, time now to
turn a new page -
With four generations of memories of "The Little White
Church on the Hill."
The memories in my heart will always clearly ring.
Mary (Kelly) Ray